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Foods and nutrients that fight skin cancer

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It is no secret that eating well, exercising regularly, and aiming for balanced lifestyle benefits both our minds and bodies. Certain foods and the nutrients that they contain can even help fight off diseases. From our weight, body image, heart, and blood pressure, to an improved mind, healthier skin and more energy – the impact of the food we eat has many benefits.

So, what foods and which nutrients do you need to include on your next shopping list?

Who loves nothing more than a fishing trip with friends when the weather starts to warm up? Or for some of us, a quick visit to the fish markets or supermarket helps to ensure that we have a delicious piece of salmon or tuna for dinner. Whilst being a treat for the tastebuds, the oils in fish also offer additional health benefits; one of these, according to the University of Manchester, is to help prevent skin cancer. Results from a study performed by the University suggest that Omega 3 fish oils improve immunity to sunlight. Fatty fish – including trout, salmon and tuna – contain large quantities of omega-3 fatty acids.  So if you’re unsure what to do for dinner tonight, why not cook some salmon with veggies for a healthy, delicious meal that could also be helping your skin!

After your trip to the fish shop, visit your local grocer, as foods that are high in carotenoids – i.e. an array of fruit and vegetables – are believed to help protect the skin against harmful UV radiation, according to withhealthfood.org. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine states that carotenoids act as antioxidants, fighting cancer-causing free radicals. Foods that contain high levels of carotenoids include carrots, collard greens, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. A good way of remembering which fruits and vegetables are high in carotenoids is to look for those fruits and vegetables that are orange, red, yellow or green colour.

Spicing things up when it comes to cooking may be doing than just delighting your tastebuds. Some herbs and spices increase your antioxidant intake, and as a result, help, fight off skin cancer and melanoma-causing radicals. For example, healthfood.org states that curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinct yellow colouring, has been shown to stimulate the self-destruction of melanoma skin cancer cells! It certainly deserves its label as a superfood with benefits like that.

There are even some health benefits from coffee; studies from the Journal of National Cancer Institute suggest a link between coffee consumption and a lower likelihood of skin cancer development. According to the study, people who consumed between one and three cups of coffee per day had a 10% decreased chance of developing melanoma. Those who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had a 20% decreased risk of malignant melanoma. If you’re more of a tea person, there is some good news for you too! Green and black tea contains antioxidants that are believed to fight cancer by preventing the growth of cancer proteins.

The foods mentioned above are merely a sample of some of the different foods, drinks and nutrients that may help fight skin cancer. Here are some other cancer fighting nutrients and the foods you might like to consider for your pantry:

NutrientFound in these foods
Beta-caroteneSweet potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens and most yellow/orange veggies
LycopeneTomatoes (including in cooked form in sauces), watermelon, papaya, pink guava
LuteinSpinach, kale, peas, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, pistachios, broccoli, egg yolks
Epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC)Green and black tea, rosemary, thyme and polyphenols   oregano, garlic, cocoa
FlavonoidsCitrus, especially citrus peel
ProanthocyanadinsCocoa, grape seeds
Cruciferous veggiesBroccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale

Whilst your diet plays an important role in your wellbeing, the best way to prevent skin cancer is to use sun-safe practises – cover up with protective clothing, wear a broad-brimmed hat and SPF 50+ sunscreen and stay out of the sun during the highest UV radiation hours of the day.

Remember early detection is critical in getting the best result after a skin cancer diagnosis, so regular skin checks are important. Call SunDoctors on 13 SKIN (13 7546), or head online to https://sundoctors.com.au/ to find out more information.

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